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Security Forces patrols skies from bird's-eye view

A RQ-11 Raven with the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron waits for take-off at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery or video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

A RQ-11 Raven from the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron sits prior to take-off at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery and video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

A RQ-11 Raven with the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron flies the skies at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery or video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

A RQ-11 Raven from the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron flies the skies at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery and video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Luis Sandoval, left, Staff Sgt. Helen Daniel, and Tech. Sgt. Kevin Adams, Raven- B operators with 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, view the imagery received from the RQ-11 Raven at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery or video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Luis Sandoval, left, Staff Sgt. Helen Daniel, and Tech. Sgt. Kevin Adams, Raven- B operators with 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, view the imagery received from the RQ-11 Raven after a flight at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery and video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Luis Sandoval, a Raven- B operator with 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, pulls a wing for a RQ-11B Raven out of bag at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery or video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Luis Sandoval, a Raven- B operator with 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, pulls a wing for a RQ-11B Raven out of bag at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery and video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Luis Sandoval, a Raven- B operator with 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, checks the heading of the RQ-11 Raven at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery or video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Luis Sandoval, a Raven- B operator with 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, checks the heading of the RQ-11 Raven at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery and video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Helen Daniel, a Raven- B operator with 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, launches a RQ-11 Raven at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery or video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Helen Daniel, a Raven- B operator with 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, launches a RQ-11 Raven at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 3, 2017. The RQ-11 Raven is a small unmanned aircraft system which provides real-time imagery and video for the 379th ESFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar – In an open gravel area, airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, assemble a four pound bird-like unmanned aircraft system and prepare it for flight over the skies of Al Udeid Air Base, July 3. 

 

The RQ-11B Raven, that is prepared for flight, is a small, hand-launched aircraft that is powered by a small motor and designed to fall apart during the landing process as a safety measure. It has a cruising speed of over 26 miles per hour and can fly nearly 90 minutes.

 

“It gives us an eye on the perimeter,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Helen Daniel, a Raven B operator with the 379th ESFS. “Patrolling every signal stop on the perimeter is a challenge. Real time images and video of what is going on provides additional support to base defense operations.”

 

“[Similar to] any normal manned aircraft, the unmanned Raven B has an extensive pre-flight prior to launching,” said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Adams, non-commission officer in charge of Raven B operations with the 379th ESFS. “We ensure all equipment is working properly within safe limitations and show no noticeable malfunctions in order to have a successful mission.”

 

Before launch, Raven B operators go through a series of tasks to ensure the Raven B is ready for takeoff.  The mission of the Raven B team is to patrol the base’s perimeter and be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

 

Not every Security Force Squadron in the U.S. Air Force receives this mission. As Raven B operators, the team had to go through a two week training course.

 

According to Daniel, after passing all the requirements at the Raven B operator course, they have to maintain certain requirements in order to stay mission ready within the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility. These requirements include performing a number of flying missions per month, live or simulated, and maintaining flight readiness.

 

For a lot of Security Forces members, this program flies under the radar.

 

“Many Security Force personnel in fact don’t know the Raven B program is in existence,” said Senior Airman Luis Sandoval, a Raven B operator with the 379th ESFS. “I encourage everyone to explore this career field and ask questions to see what other jobs are out there.”